Boston University, MA Green Purchasing

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Boston University, MA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Initiated in 2004

Source File:


Since early 2004, Boston University has practiced Green Purchasing, or the preferential procurement of supplies and services that have as little environmental impact as possible. In the past few years, the Office of Purchasing Services has developed primary contracts with several suppliers including Office Depot and Fisher Scientific that offer alternative “green” products for both office and laboratory. BU has continued to reduce supply chain waste through consolidated ordering and scheduled deliveries, so that products are delivered in bulk instead of through many smaller deliveries, and reductions in supplier packaging materials. These efforts, along with the purchase of BU’s first hybrid vehicle in 2005, the Office of Purchasing Services has actively demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability.

BU also encourages employees to consider environmental factors in all purchasing decisions. This step involves giving preference to products and services that have a lesser effect on public health and the environment, as compared to competing products or services that serve the same purpose. An ideal product will be made from recycled material, be recyclable, and use minimal packaging material.

Future Initiatives
Over the next two years, Boston University Purchasing Services will continue to work toward a more formal framework of sustainability within its supply chain. Actions and guidelines include:

  • Regular audits of supplier sustainability efforts; identification of selected opportunities to purchase products and services that are produced and sold by businesses that have management policies and practices concerned with the environment.
  • Development of an Environmental Quality Management System, such as ISO 14001.
  • Measurement and management of purchased recycled content products, bio-based products, alternative fuel products, alternative fuels, and non-ozone depleting products; metrics and improvement targets for recycling and waste reduction.
  • Heightened environmental awareness by faculty, staff and students of purchasing and supply chain management as a key driver toward BU sustainability; continued employee education, supplier partnerships and demonstrated successes.
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